So…the trophy wife and I spent our anniversary week (28 years) in one of our favorite places, the mountains of North Carolina. We got a hotel room in a nice place on the river in one of the small towns in western North Carolina, and then visited other small towns around the area to just browse the shops and take in some local restaurants. No chain places for us on these trips. That’s part of getting away. The picture above is one I took just looking down the main street of one of the towns, and all of them pretty much look the same.
One of these towns is a stopping point for the Great Smokey Mountains Railroad train excursion. Riders get off the train and have some time to eat and browse, before getting back on and going back to the start. We took the lunch excursion a couple years ago on a previous anniversary trip and loved it.
While the group was in town I overheard one of the men comment that he wished they had stopped in a “nicer place”. I looked at him and noticed that he was probably in his thirties, wearing his modern clothes and a man purse. I couldn’t help but wonder where he was from and the fact that “he just don’t get it”. The town we were in is one of the most quaint and creative towns in this area, and it’s really neat to just walk and explore. Plus, the restaurants are really good here. Maybe it’s because I’m middle-aged, or that I grew up around a lot of this culture, or that I just have an appreciation for artisans and creative minds. I don’t consider myself better than anyone else, but I don’t think I’d put myself into a situation where I wouldn’t appreciate my surroundings.
Another reflection I had was in one of the shops, looking at some cookbooks of mountain cooking and country cooking and “hillbilly” cooking. I got to thinking about how we can go online and easily find recipes for anything and everything we want to cook and eat. I also got to thinking that there are so many recipes in those old books that no one ever hears about or cooks again. It made me wonder a couple things. One, would a lot of younger people even know what some of the ingredients were to some of those old dishes and, two, could you find a lot of the ingredients, with a lot of them being locally grown and referred to by names in the vernacular. I didn’t study any of them to test my musings. Coming from an Appalachian family, I just bet that seeing some of them would bring back some wonderful memories.
I love my time in the mountains. I spend a lot of time in the woods as a young boy, and love the feeling of being back outside. I live in a small town, just an hour away from western NC, so it’s always a quick and easy trip to return to those feelings when I need a recharge.